There’s no doubt about it, watching your child fail at something is hard. You know they are trying really hard but they still don’t make the team or get 100% for spelling. You watch them and your heart breaks for them.
Children even see failure in not having anyone to sit with at lunchtime or not being called on when they raise their hand in class. That sense of “I’m not good enough” can start very early in their lives.
Henry Ford’s statement “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” reminds us that failure provides us with the opportunity to re-evaluate and to try again with the extra ammunition of experience to support us.
I guess we have all heard “Practice makes perfect” or “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Whilst I would amend the first statement to ‘Practice makes for Improvement’, I do endorse the second. It is through trying and failing, possibly repeatedly, until some measure of success is achieved, that our children learn about patience and perseverance, two key factors for success.
So how do we help our kids through the inevitable failures that they will face?
Talk with them about how they are feeling as a result of being unsuccessful. Reassure them that what they are feeling is okay and help them to find acceptable ways to express those feelings.
- Talk with them about how they are feeling as a result of being unsuccessful. Reassure them that what they are feeling is okay and help them to find acceptable ways to express those feelings.
- Remind them that you are proud of the effort that they have put in and the positive attitude they have shown. Tell them that you value these two things just as much as, maybe even more than, a win. Make sure they know you love them no matter what the outcome.
- Keep expectations realistic….for both of you.
- Have a discussion on strengths – the things you notice about your child that you see as positive characteristics. Remind them that nobody is good at everything.
- Be a positive role model. When you experience failure of any sort. Remember that young eyes and ears are recording your reactions. How you deal with failure is a major lesson for your children. It is okay to tell them that you are disappointed or sad and important to show them how you go about learning from the experience.
Everyone will fail at some time in their life, but it is how each of us deals with that failure that sets us apart from our peers. Treating failure as a learning experience may seem a difficult task, but as previously stated ‘Practice makes for Improvement’.